The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has said that there is no way of seeking a ban on Pakistan from the Cricket World Cup, Indian media reported on Thursday.
Calls by Indian cricket fans as well as cricketers — angered by last week's suicide bombing attack in Pulwama district of occupied Kashmir in which more than 40 Indian troops were killed — to boycott a World Cup match against Pakistan this summer have intensified over the last few days.
The Cricket Club of India (CCI), among the country’s oldest clubs, also joined calls for the national team to stay away from the June 16 match in Britain, as Indians accused Pakistan of not doing enough to stop militants from operating on its soil — a charge Pakistan has strongly denied.
"The BCCI and the Committee of Administrators (CoA) have not prepared any note seeking a ban on Pakistan at the upcoming World Cup and even if such a move is made, the International Cricket Council (ICC) is bound to reject it," a BCCI official was quoted as saying by NDTV Sports.
"There is absolutely no constitutional or contractual way this could happen. The ICC constitution allows members the right to participate in ICC events as long as they've qualified," the BCCI official added.
Last week, ICC said that it did not foresee any change in the schedule of the mega event starting on May 30. “There is no indication that any [of the] matches at the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup will not go ahead as planned,” ICC's Dave Richardson said in a statement.
India and Pakistan have not hosted a cricket series between their countries since 2013 due to political tensions.
However, the national teams have faced each other in tournaments such as the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy and 2018 Asia Cup held in neutral venues.
BCCI also removes Pakistani cricketers' pictures
The BCCI on Wednesday removed pictures and memorabilia of Pakistani cricketers from the its headquarters as a mark of protest against the Pulwama bombing, reported Times of India.
"There was one photograph of Pakistan cricket great Javed Miandad indulging in 'frog jump' to imitate former India wicketkeeper Kiran More during their high-voltage 1992 World Cup clash. There were a few photographs from India's 2004 tour of Pakistan, including former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf with Indian cricket's greats Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly, and a picture of Pakistan all-rounder Imran Khan, who's currently the prime minister of the country, with the Indian team," a source told TOI.
As a reaction to last week's attack, a cloth was placed over a portrait of former Pakistan captain and current premier Imran Khan in Cricket Club of India's Mumbai office, ANI and other media earlier reported.
Photographs of Pakistani cricketers were removed from inside a cricket stadium in the northern Indian state of Punjab, which borders Pakistan, according to Indian media.
Coverage of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) Twenty20 competition has been blacked out in India.
Event management company IMG Reliance decided against showing the matches live, and Indian television channel D-Sport suspended coverage of the Twenty20 league.
Following these steps by India, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) expressed ‘extreme disappointment’ on its website.
“Denying India cricket fans the right to follow PSL ... as well as covering or removing portrait of former Pakistan cricket captain and Prime Minister Imran Khan and other legendary cricketers from one of the most historic cricket clubs and venues are highly regrettable actions,” PCB managing director Wasim Khan said in Dubai.
The PCB said it would take up the incidents at the ICC committee meeting in Dubai later this month.
India to face sanctions
Meanwhile, India could face sanctions after two Pakistani shooters failed to get visas to attend a World Cup event in New Delhi, the sport’s world body said on Wednesday, amid tensions over the Pulwama suicide bomb attack.
Two Pakistani shooters, G.M. Bashir and Khalil Ahmed, and their manager were to take part in the event but had not arrived for Wednesday’s eve-of-contest formalities.
The International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) warned India of consequences. “The ISSF World Cup in New Delhi faces an urgent situation as Pakistani athletes cannot get entry visas to participate in the competition,” it said in a statement.
India, which has expressed a strong interest in hosting the 2032 Olympics and 2030 Asian Games, could face International Olympic Committee (IOC) action if Pakistan is blocked from taking part.